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What is a Specialist High Skills Major?

A Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) is a Ministry of Education approved program that allows students to focus their learning on a specific economic sector, while meeting the requirement of the Ontario Secondary School Diploma. The program also assists students in their transition from secondary school to apprenticeship training, college, university or the workplace. An SHSM enables students to gain sector specific skills and knowledge.

The St. Catharines Collegiate has been approved by the Ministry of Education to offer the Arts and Culture SHSM.

Profile of the Arts and Culture Sector

The SHSM–Arts and Culture enables students to build a foundation of sector-focused knowledge and skills before graduating and entering apprenticeship training, college, university, or an entry-level position in the workplace. Where local circumstances allow, boards may elect to offer one or more variants of the SHSM in a given sector, each with a particular area of focus. This SHSM may be designed to have a particular focus – for example, on dance, dramatic arts management or technical production. This focus is achieved through the selection of the four major credits in the bundle.

What will students learn in the Arts and Culture major study?

A bundle of eight Grade 11 and Grade 12 credits

These credits make up the bundle:

  • four arts and culture major credits that provide sector-specific knowledge and skills. The four courses must include at least one Grade 11 and one Grade 12 credit, and may include one cooperative education credit related to the sector. (This cooperative education credit would be additional to the two that are required in the bundle; see below);
  • two other required credits from the Ontario curriculum. Schools may commit to including a contextualized learning activity (CLA) for the arts and culture sector in each of the two credits. In each credit, some of the course expectations are then met through the CLA. (Schools that do not formally commit to including CLAs are still free to offer them in one or more of the credits.) The two credits include:
    • one in English;
    • one in business studies or Canadian and world studies (or a cooperative education credit related to the sector, which would be additional to the two cooperative education credits required in the bundle; see below);
  • two cooperative education credits that provide authentic learning experiences in a workplace setting, enabling students to refine, extend, apply, and practise knowledge and skills outlined in the cooperative education curriculum as well as sector-specific knowledge and skills.

-Experiential learning and career exploration activities

-Sector-recognized certifications and/or training courses/programs

-Reach ahead experiences:

Students are provided one or more reach ahead experiences – opportunities to take the next steps along their chosen pathway – as shown in the following examples:

  • Apprenticeship: visiting an approved apprenticeship delivery agent in the sector
  • College: interviewing a college student enrolled in a sector-specific program
  • University: observing a university class in a sector-related program
  • Workplace: interviewing an employee in the sector

Sector-partnered experiences (SPEs)

Students engage with a sector partner and apply skills to gain insight into the relationship between this sector and ICE (innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship), coding, and/or mathematical literacy.

What are the future career paths for arts and culture?

For arts and culture majors, possible careers include:

  • Apprenticeship – Entertainment Industry Power Technician, Painter and Decorator, Stage Sound and Light Technician
  • College – Dance History, Theatre Production and Technical Production, Audio Engineering, Recording, Production, Advertising Design and Media Sales
  • University –  Drama/Theatre Arts/Theatre Studies – Performance, Music History, Culture, Theory, and Composition, Art History
  • Entry level workplace – Dance Performance Preparation, Digital Music Design, Art and Design Foundation